In 5 months, Australian mining companies shipped 347 million tons of ferrous metals abroad

Mining companies in Australia increased exports of iron ore by 2% in January-May 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, to 347 million tons. This is reported by BigMint.

In May, iron ore exports from Australia increased by 8% compared to the previous month to 74.6 million tons. Export volumes are recovering after hitting a 5-year low in February 2024 amid adverse weather conditions in January that affected production and logistics.

During the period, there was a surge in Australian exports of raw materials to Southeast Asia as steel production in the region improved significantly. Indonesia and Vietnam plan to further increase production and expand capacity. India is increasing imports due to higher logistics costs for domestic raw materials.

Exports to China, the largest consumer of iron ore from Australia, amounted to 291 million tons in January-May, up 1% y/y. In May, volumes increased by 8% m/m to 62.8 million tons.

During this period, South Korea and Japan imported 19.3 million tons (-4.9% y/y) and 20 million tons (+1.6% y/y) of ore from Australia, respectively.

Rio Tinto was the largest exporter of iron ore from Australia with 118.6 million tons (-4% y/y). BHP and FMG shipped 113 million tons and 80.5 million tons respectively.

The Australian market is expected to remain volatile in the coming months as the monsoon approaches, which will lead to a reduction in iron ore exports.

As a reminder, in the first quarter of 2024, global iron ore exports increased by 6% compared to the same period in 2023 to 376 million tons. The top five exporters accounted for 332 million tons of exports, up from 318 million tons a year ago, in particular:

  • Australia – 203 million tons (-1% y/y);
  • Brazil – 84 million tons (+12%);
  • South Africa – 16 million tons (+7%);
  • India – 15 million tons (+33%);
  • Canada – 13 million tons (+23%).

Ukraine ranked sixth in the ranking of global iron ore exporters in January-March 2024 with 9 million tons (+143% y/y).